04/17/11 7:50 PM ET
Left groin tightness forces Smith from game
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Smith homered off Cubs starter Ryan Dempster in the first inning, and he doubled and scored in the fourth before being replaced by Ryan Spilborghs.
Smith said he felt the tightness while running out the double.
"I just tweaked it or something, but it should be fine in a day or two," Smith said.
The two hits Sunday gave Smith 10 extra-base hits this season. He entered Sunday's play tied for fourth in the National League in that category. Smith is hitting .313 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 12 games.
Rockies hoping Stewart can find his groove
DENVER -- The media notes point out that the Rockies' Ian Stewart hit the third most home runs among National League third basemen over the 2009 and 2010 seasons with 43. But this season, all Stewart has managed with inconsistent playing time is an infield hit and, on Saturday night, a bunt single.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy wants to help Stewart find a groove, but it's been difficult. Tracy didn't start Stewart on Sunday afternoon because Stewart is 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. The next series is against the Giants, who will throw Tim Lincecum (against whom Stewart is 5-for-27 with 14 strikeouts), Jonathan Sanchez (0-for-4, all strikeouts) and Matt Cain (5-for-22, one home run, 10 strikeouts).
In other words, there isn't a favorable matchup in the next few games.
There is the possibility Stewart could go to Triple-A Colorado Springs for at-bats. After all, Stewart missed the first half of Spring Training with a knee injury, the final days of the spring with hamstring pain -- and it wasn't until just before Opening Day that the Rockies decided not to place him on the disabled list. He was also slowed during the team's recently completed road trip by flu-like symptoms.
But it's not as if anyone else has run away with the third-base job. Jose Lopez, who is splitting his time between second and third, entered Sunday hitting .171, and Ty Wigginton, a multi-position player, entered at .211. So for now, Tracy hopes Stewart, hitting .083 with 11 strikeouts and two walks, can find his footing in the Majors.
"Is it an option? Yes," Tracy said when asked about the possibility of giving Stewart consistent at-bats in the Minors. "Is it something we're discussing? Not really. We're going to keep looking for opportunities. I've seen situations like this in the past where all of a sudden you find the next spot that makes sense to give him the opportunity to get some of that traction, and he grabs hold of it."
The spotlight is on Stewart because of the shockingly low average, but it's not as if he's alone. Even though the Rockies entered Sunday with an 11-3 record, they had a .259 team batting average.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.